A business plan is a critical tool for entrepreneurs and small business owners. It is a foundation for what you want your business to do, where you want it go, and how you can get there. It highlights the characteristics and qualities of the business owner(s) and explains why the business is important.
A strategic business plan digs into market research and strategies, the opportunities, strengths, weaknesses, and threats to the business. It details a timeline for completion of short- and long-term goals. And a strategic business plan can be taken to a lender to inquire about funding.
A strategic business plan includes
- Executive Summary
- Company Description
- Environmental Analyses
- Competitive Position
- Marketing Objectives and Strategies
- Action Timeline
- Financial Statements (current and future forecasting)
- Management Summary
- Risk Management and Contingency Plans
I have seen entrepreneurs struggle for months to create a business plan and still get turned away for funding as it was not detailed enough. It takes hours of commitment to research and not get lost down a rabbit hole. It requires serious introspection on personal qualifications and desires. A strategic business plan demands a lot of time and effort to become a masterpiece.
You can spend months trying to prepare a well-defined strategic plan, loosing time and money that could be used to focus on clientele and operations. A solid plan that you can take to the bank can be anywhere from 30-50 pages, depending upon the business. This can take a person new to it well over 80 hours to complete one if they have never done one before.
If you are serious about running your business, why wouldn’t you want a solid foundation done right?